Can you tell me a little bit about you?
I was born in Jacksonville, FL and attended the University of North Florida where I received a BFA in Painting Drawing & Printmaking. While at UNF, I was able to study abroad in Italy (St. John’s University). I later went on to earn my MFA in Painting from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, MI (’17). I am currently based in Brooklyn, NY.
When did you first discover art, or realize you wanted to make it yourself?
I believe it surfaced out of boredom. My mom and I moved to Tampa when I was three and we lived with my grandmother. She had a television that she would allow me to only watch at night with her and it involved an hour of either the daily latin news or an occasional telenovela. I was entertained by these but the duration wasn’t enough. I had a box of crayons and markers and I began drawing little televisions all over the wall. When I was busted, my grandmother just pulled up a chair to watch. She liked all of the “content” I added to each screen, which included the backs of people’s heads, scribbles and landscapes. I even licked a stamp and placed it on the wall. I remember it so vividly. I discovered that an image or drawing was enough for me, that I could make what I needed to see and maybe for someone else, too.
What ideas are you exploring in your practice?
Some themes I’m currently working with include intuition & secrecy. Through modes of abstraction, fragmentation, and material flux I’m exploring these themes. I welcome variation and making environments that deal with camouflage/ wanting to be seen while hiding.
What is your process like?
I plan paintings but mostly after I have made the initial drawing on little scraps of paper or on my phone in an app. This often happens randomly and only about 15% make it on to become paintings. I usually work on three or four pieces at a time. Sometimes they are finished within a day- a week, while others can take months to be completed.
Is there any subject or theme you’ve been particularly interested in lately?
I have been really interested in the Victorian microscope artists who made intricate arrangements on slides using diatoms.
How do you spend your time when you’re not making work?
Outside of the studio and assistant job, I spend time working in a restaurant. Working in restaurants comes with an unspoken pressure to experience (on my days off) the menus of chefs all over the city. This helps build knowledge about food, what is happening on the scene & who’s doing it right. After working really hard to ensure all of these strangers have the greatest experiences of their lives, the best thing is to go out for a gluttonous dinner to recharge my spirit…the hospitality world can really take it out of you. There are so many dinners to be had and so little fun money when it comes to life here, so I’ve been cooking a LOT at home. Making all the things I am dreaming about having out. I look at menus and try to recreate something that I find challenging but simple enough for a novice. This gets me out to markets, & I really love going to markets. Other things I do outside of making work include watching movies, strolling around the neighborhood, the occasional trivia night with friends, and talking on the phone- anyone who knows me would say texting me is often fruitless..it takes me an eon to respond. its criminal sometimes. Just call! I also end up researching a lot of useless stuff online.
Do you have a mentor, or a piece of advice (or both), which has influenced your practice?
Sure! I have a few. My main two are the artists Louise Freshman Brown and Beverly Fishman. They both have a way of delivering brutal honesty paired with a sort of compassion. One of my favorite things to remember when I’m feeling low or stuck is a little sign I saw hanging above Bev’s desk. The sign read: “Boo Fucking Hoo”. what crass! what sass! That little phrase screams get back to work and don’t waste time feeling sorry for yourself. I Love it & think of it often.
Is there any piece of advice you would offer to others?
Be true and unapologetic about who you are.
What does it mean to you to have a “community?”
It’s was about developing a(n art) village. A base of people you can turn to when you need advice, partners to go around to events with, people striving and working towards their own goals that may or may not be mutually shared. People who you admire and admire you back. I think it’s nice to have meaningful relationships with people outside of the arts to help remind you that there are many different ways of living that can bring value. Community is really important, even if small.
What is your studio like?
It’s my third and favorite studio I’ve had since moving here in 2017. My studio has a lofted are against windows with a space for storage below. I keep the painting/wet activity in the studio area below the loft and my desk is against the window. I have a window! It stays messy most of the time. It’s a working mess…the kind where I know exactly where my boxcutter is below the rubble. But this year I am taking up frequent tidying; I think it’s healthy.
How significant has attending art school been on your practice?
For me, getting an MFA was very important. I felt like I was in a pressure cooker and by the end, the next three levels of me where unlocked. I had the opportunity for time, a great studio space to focus on my paintings and growing my familiarity with materials.
There are benefits to not pursuing a higher ed degree. The main one is avoiding the shackles of debt that often comes with it, but there are programs that offer great financial assistance/ scholarships. I’ve met smart an successful artists who didn’t get an MFA, so it really comes down to the individual and what they need.
How would you define “success” in art?
Being able to make! and the feeling of alignment that can come from what is happening in the studio.
Are you involved in any collaborative or self-organized projects?
I’m working in collaboration with an artist in LA on building a show of our pieces that touch on domestic fantasy. I’m pretty excited about it and like the idea of having fun with another artist who’s work I esteem.